Inkoming - 172

Published: 01 May, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 172, May, 2009

Air your views or have a rant and we’ll give one letter a free, yes free, t-shirt! Aren’t we nice?

Winning Letter


Hi Neil

I have just been reading this month’s issue of Skin Deep, and as usual with this subject, I find my blood boiling and my head starting to spin. I have been for the past year working for Rob Ratcliffe at Border Rose Tattoo Studio as his apprentice so feel I’m allowed to have a little rant. So here it goes...

I work there and have done for nearly 12 months, unpaid; I empty bins, sweep floors, deal with customers, go on errands etc, etc. I’m not complaining about this; what I’m complaining about it the fact that I’m trying to pay my dues, learn the trade in a studio environment from someone who knows what he’s doing, and has experience. I have not done a tattoo yet and then hear my mate’s mate bought a tattoo machine from eBay and is practising on my brother’s girlfriend’s sister’s dad... Ok so I’m exaggerating, but you get my point. These pricks think they can read about it on the Internet or watch a DVD and woo-hoo, they can tattoo. People that I see come into the shop who I can only describe as being butchered want it fixing or covering up, Now part of me thinks, ‘Ok, you’re that stupid that you’re gonna let some dude in their kitchen tattoo you for £20, then it’s your own fault’, but people are naive. I know it’s hard to be a tattooist and yes, I’m lucky to be in the position I am, I fully appreciate that; but looking at the bigger picture, if these people continue to and get away with this where is it gonna leave the tattoo industry in the years to come? I know it’s been said a million times before but seriously W.T.F?



Top Tattooed Tome

Hi Neil and the Gang

I just wanted to get in touch and say how much I love the magazine. I’ve been an avid fan for years, but never been in touch.

The reason for the letter is that I woke up this morning to a nice parcel through the door - Lal Hardy’s new book (Mammoth Book Of Tattoos), which is absolutely superb!! I was flicking through the pages and saw the Suzi Q section, WITH MY ARM IN THE PICTURE! I know that sounds quite lame, but I was so excited I could hardly speak! It’s the photo of Suzi looking at the camera in the process of doing my tattoo.

I was lucky enough to get tattooed by Suzi at the Tattoo Jam last year, and she was an absolute star, as was her husband Nige. I had a pirate ship done on my left forearm as a 30th Birthday present from the best Mrs in the world!!

So basically just a few thank yous to make - first and foremost, Lynn, for making a dream come true in so many ways, Skin Deep for putting on an amazing weekend (which was my first ever convention!) and continuing to put out a class publication, Suzi Q for giving me a tattoo that I love and five hours I will never forget, and Lal for putting together a fantastic book, with my arm in it!

My next session is booked with Gary at Inkredible Kreations; then hopefully get a piece from Lal himself in the future. You never know, next time he does a book I might get my face in it! Keep up the great work,

Craig, Carnoustie


Positive Press

Dear Skin Deep

As regards your April ’09 issue and the Tattoo Prejudice article, I thought you might be interested in an article in a local paper in a small town just outside Birmingham.

The article is very, very positive about tattooing and will (I hope) change a lot of people’s perceptions of tattoo parlours and the image of people who choose to be individual. I am well pleased that a non-specialist publication has been able to show tattooing in a positive light and will encourage more people to get inked. It means even more to me, as the artist featured is my daughter. As a parent, I am so proud of my daughter for working hard to be in a profession she has always dreamed of, and thanks to a page in a local paper, has helped her break down any prejudice readers may have had, as regards the industry.

At 46 years old, I am enjoying being tattooed and the pride that comes every day when you see the art that you have been part of creating, and even more proud that my tattoos are my daughter’s work.

The article in the local paper captures exactly the enjoyable experience of being tattooed, and also the whole ‘Nala’ experience, with excellent service from reception to the artists that work there and the atmosphere they create. Thank you for your time and top magazine – I hope you enjoy the article and get positive feelings from it. Thanks again

Mark Gleeson (Steph’s dad)


Hang On In There

Hi Skin Deep

Well, my letter is about discrimination against tattoo culture. I’m 20 years old, been into the tattoo/hotrod/rock and roll scene since I was born due to my dad being a hot-rodder; I’ve always gone to shows etc, I’ve always been tattoo daft. When I turned 16 I got myself an apprenticeship in a garage and everything was going great. Then the boss saw some of my tattoos, his attitude towards me changed. It now seems that I no longer matter to him. Instead of getting me to learn new skills or pushing me to pass my exams, his attitude is clean this, clean that and the more this went on, the further he distanced himself from me. No longer does he speak to me or even look at me. So, for the past 3 years or so, he has been trying to beat me into leaving by bullying me and degrading me. I’m never late, have always done over-time, shown great dedication but it’s no use; I have tattoos and to him this brings great shame on his business. 

To be honest I really don’t want to quit but if I do, then he has won. I know I am going to win this fight and prove him wrong; it’s a hard fight but I know it’s worth it in the end.  


Jonny Rock

Thanks for the letter

If it was me, I think I’d go and have a word with him to see exactly what the problem is. Find out if it is the tattoos and if so maybe explain why you have them, even show him your tattoos, he might form a different opinion of you considering he was a good boss before he knew about the ink. 

Some people put up a defensive barrier and are fearful because they don’t know about a certain subject. Try and get into a conversation about the history of tattooing and how it’s been around for centuries in many different cultures, this might bring him around.



Happy Families

Dear Skin Deep

I had to write this letter to thank the tattoo community for all the help, support, advice and constant mail I have been receiving over the last 16 months.

In August 2007, I was charged with an arson attack on a shop I was a week away from purchasing. I’m not going to go on about it here, as I’m writing this letter to say thanks. Despite rumours, gossip, TV, papers and radio, it seems most people are fully aware of the truth and although I haven’t been ‘in’ the tattoo community for that long, the support I have received has left me so proud to be associated with it. The stereotype and stigma sometimes attached to the community is clearly uncalled for and all my family and I can do is thank everyone and shout from the rooftops what a genuine and close culture we have. I’m drawing like mad and can’t wait to say thanks for all the support and advice I have received by giving tattoos when I’m back where I belong – in a studio. A heartfelt thanks and respect to all.

L. Black, Whitemoor


Skin Deep 172 1 May 2009 172